Terms of sick leave scheme

For an ordinary illness, teachers are entitled to 183 days paid sick leave in a rolling four-year period.

This is subject to a further limit of 92 days on full salary in any rolling twelve-month period, after which any remaining sick leave entitlement will be paid at half-pay.

In a rolling two-year period, seven of these days may be taken as self-certified sick leave.

For a more serious illness, a teacher may apply for the Critical Illness Protocol (CIP), which may extend their access to paid sick leave. See FAQ below for further details about CIP.

Sick leave calculator

The INTO sick leave calculator can only provide members with a snapshot of their ordinary sick leave entitlement and cannot take account of extended sick leave which may be granted under the Critical Illness Protocol (CIP), or if a teacher’s absences are due to a Pregnancy Related Illness (PRSL).

Furthermore, if a teacher has taken a career break in the relevant four-year period, time on career break should be discounted from the count-back for sick leave.

Please see FAQs below for a more detailed explanation of how sick leave is calculated, and the impact of career breaks, CIP, or PRSL on your entitlements.

Members with complex sick leave queries may prefer to contact the INTO Queryline.

 

Sick Leave FAQs

For an ordinary (non-critical) illness, you have access to 183 days of paid sick leave in a rolling four-year period. This is subject to a further limit of 92 days of full pay in any rolling twelve-month period. After 92 days full pay sick leave in a twelve-month period, you will move on to half pay.

You may find the INTO Sick Leave Estimator above useful to understand your own sick leave, and there is more detailed explanation of how the two count-backs work on the INTO website here.

When considering your sick leave, you must look back over the preceding four years. The relevant four-year period will “roll forward” as time passes.

(For instance, if you are sick on 10 April 2022, the relevant four-year period counts from 11 April 2018 – 10 April 2022. But if you fell ill a month later, the relevant four-year period would be 11 May 2018 – 10 May 2022.)

Then, to assess the rate of pay that you’re going to receive, you look back over the past twelve months. (So in our example above, 11 April 2021 – 10 April 2022.)

This is referred to as the “dual count-back” – the four-year count-back to assess how many days of paid sick you have, and the twelve-month count-back to assess whether those days will be at full or half pay.

Your school should be able to give you a print-out of your sick leave from the OLCS. However, if you have worked in your current school for fewer than four years, you will have to contact the DE directly, as your school can only access your leave record since they’ve employed you.
Your school should be able to give you a print-out of your sick leave from the OLCS. However, if you have worked in your current school for fewer than four years, you will have to contact the DE directly, as your school can only access your leave record since they’ve employed you.
Depending on the nature of your condition, you may be eligible for the Critical Illness Provision (CIP), which will extend your paid sick leave.

Alternatively, any further sick leave you take may be paid as Temporary Rehabilitation Remuneration (TRR) or as unpaid sick leave.

After your paid sick leave has been exhausted, you may have access to TRR. The rate of TRR paid will be based on a teacher’s length of service. It may be paid for up to 18 months for an ordinary illness, or up to three years if CIP has been granted.
If you’re a member of the pre-2013 Teachers’ Pension Scheme, you must have completed at least five years of service to be eligible for TRR.

If you’re a member of the Single Pension Scheme, introduced in 2013, you must have completed at least two years of service to be eligible for TRR.

TRR is granted on the condition that Medmark confirms that there is a “reasonable prospect of recovery and return to work,” and is subject to ongoing review.

The rate of TRR broadly reflects the pension you would be paid if you were to retire on the grounds of ill health.
The calculation of TRR will be based on your years of service, with either added years for those on the Teachers’ Pension Scheme, or an “enhancement of benefits” for those on the Single Scheme.
You can take up to three days of self-certified sick leave consecutively, and up to seven days self-certified sick leave in a rolling two-year period. If your sick leave exceeds either of these limits, you will need to provide a medical certificate.
No, a medical certificate just needs to state that you are unfit to work for a specified period. It does not need to set out the nature of your condition. (Providing more detailed medical certificates may be useful though, for instance if you are looking for a period of school closure to be discounted.)
Normally one week, but your school may accept a certificate for up to one month.
If you pay Class A PRSI, and you’re on sick leave for more than three consecutive days excluding Sunday, you will need to claim Illness Benefit.

Your salary will be reduced by the value of your Illness Benefit while you’re on sick leave.

If you are refused Illness Benefit by the DSP, you should notify Primary Payroll and they will adjust the deduction.

You can check this on your payslip, but if you started teaching after 1 April 1995, you will pay Class A PRSI.
All certified sick leave has substitute cover.

Self-certified sick leave generally does not have substitute cover, with the following exceptions:

  • Schools with two or fewer teachers can employ a substitute for self-certified sick leave or
  • If there are two or more teachers absent on the same day on self-certified sick leave, or the first day of family illness leave, substitutes may be employed for the second and subsequent absent teachers. (Eg if a school has four teachers absent on self-certified sick leave, the school may employ three substitutes.)

If you pay Class A PRSI, and you’re on sick leave for more than three consecutive days excluding Sunday, your salary will be reduced by the value of your Illness Benefit, which you must claim directly from the Department of Social Protection.

You can make an Illness Benefit claim within six weeks of your illness commencing, or within six months if there is a very compelling reason for the late claim, which the DSP will adjudicate.

You only need to provide medical certificates to your school, detailing the dates that you are unfit to work. You don’t need to apply for Illness Benefit, and no deduction will be made from your salary.
Your GP will be able to give you the relevant paper forms, or you may also submit your claim online through MyWelfare, if you have a MyGovID account, and if your doctor will submit the forms electronically to the DSP.

Notes for applying for Illness Benefit:

  • For the purpose of social welfare claims, your board of management or ETB is your employer.
  • However, your Employers Registered Number is the Department of Education payroll number, 4000099H.
  • This benefit is paid directly to you, so you should supply your personal bank details on your application form.

Yes, you are entitled to paid sick leave, subject to the same conditions as any other teacher, while within your contract.

However, as you are paid through the OLCS, you will need to submit a Substitute for a Substitute form (PDF) to claim your salary for the duration of your absence.

If your contract ends before your sick leave ends, your payment from the DE will cease at the end of your contract, unless you take up a subsequent contract.

Yes, you can use sick leave for the purpose of “obtaining medical related services (e.g. Doctor/Dentist) provided such appointments could not have been arranged outside of regular working hours or working days.”

Evidence of your appointments should be provided to your school to support your absence, and this can be recorded as certified sick leave on the OLCS.

There is no specific provision to take leave for fertility treatment or other reproductive health issues.

Sick leave may be taken for the purpose of “obtaining medical related services (e.g. Doctor/Dentist) provided such appointments could not have been arranged outside of regular working hours or working days,” which may include fertility treatment.

Evidence of your appointments should be provided to your school to support your absence, and these absences can be recorded as certified sick leave on the OLCS.

The DE does not make any provision for partial absence during the school day.

Some schools through a local arrangement may occasionally facilitate teachers who need to be absent for an hour or two, but this is not an entitlement in your terms and conditions, and a partial absence cannot be formally recorded.

You should be given a copy of any sick leave referral.

If you have been absent for 28 days or more in a 12-month period – whether cumulatively or consecutively – your employer is required to make a referral to Medmark.

Your employer can also make a discretionary referral to Medmark – even if you’ve had fewer than 28 days leave – if they have a particular concern about an employee’s wellbeing or fitness to work.

This is a provision for paid sick leave to be extended if you have a serious illness. If granted, CIP doubles your sick leave entitlement, to 365 days of paid sick leave in a rolling four-year period, with up to 183 days at full pay in any single year.
Details of how to apply for CIP, the criteria used by Medmark, and guidance for Boards exercising managerial discretion, can be found in Chapter One of Circular 0054/2019, Appendix A: Employers Procedures Manual (PDF).

You will apply to your employer for CIP, using the application form here (doc). Your employer will make an online referral to Medmark, which will generate a referral number. You will need to provide a report from your consultant to Medmark, using the form here (PDF) and including the Medmark referral number, outlining the serious nature of your condition.

Medmark assess your application on narrow medical grounds, but if Medmark do not approve your CIP, your employer may exercise their discretion and grant it.

In order for CIP to be approved by Medmark, you must be in the care of a consultant, and your condition must have at least one of the following characteristics:

(b) Acute life-threatening physical illness

(c) Chronic progressive illness, with well-established potential to reduce life expectancy

(d) Major physical trauma ordinarily requiring corrective acute operative surgical treatment

(e) In-patient or hospital day care of ten consecutive days or greater. (If the condition is pregnancy related, this is reduced to two consecutive days.)

You can appeal Medmark’s decision within 30 days of being notified of the decision. However, you cannot present new medical evidence as part of your appeal, and there is a cost of €100 to appeal (which is refunded if your appeal is successful).

Alternatively, you can ask your employer to exercise their “managerial discretion”, in considering whether there are exceptional circumstances which warrant the granting of CIP. (Details here (PDF) at Appendix B of the sick leave chapter of circular 54/2019.)

If your sick leave is ending on a Friday, and you are going to be fit to work on Monday, there is no need for the weekend to be recorded as sick leave.

If an absence is certified, your school must record what is on your certificate, but it’s fine for a medical certificate to end on a Friday inclusive.

In general, if you have a very short absence either before or after a school closure, sick leave will not be recorded for the duration of the closure.

However, it should be noted that the DE have the discretion to re-classify a school closure as being sick leave, on the advice of the OHS, and taking account of the individual circumstances.

If you’ve been absent for an extended period coming up to school holidays – 28 days or longer – you will need Medmark to certify that you are fit to end your sick leave. You may be deemed fit after the school holidays have begun (so being on sick leave at the start of the summer doesn’t necessarily mean the entire summer will count as sick leave).

If you are sick before and after a school closure, the full duration of the closure will also be counted as part of your sick leave, but you may present medical evidence to the OHS and seek to have your record amended.

Even if some or all of a school closure is recorded as sick leave, you will still be paid for this time, subject to your contract of employment and the terms of the sick leave scheme.

Yes.

If you’ve been absent for 28 days or longer, your employer is required to get confirmation from Medmark that you’re fit to return to work.

If your absence has been shorter than twenty-eight days, but your employer has concerns about your fitness to return, they can make a discretionary referral to Medmark to confirm that you are fit to return.

You should be given a copy of any referral to Medmark.

There aren’t any specific rules or provisions about attending work in a cast (or a sling, or a boot, etc.). The question for your employer is: are you fit to work?

If you’ve been absent for fewer than twenty-eight days, your school may accept your own doctor’s confirmation that you are fit to return to work, but a prudent employer may make a discretionary referral to Medmark, to confirm that you will be able to carry out all your duties, and that attending work will not jeopardise your recovery.

If you’ve been absent for more than twenty-eight days, your employer is required to get Medmark’s confirmation that you’re fit to return to work.

Chapter One of Circular 54/2019 (PDF), and on the INTO help and advice page here.